The Everyday Man's Sports Blog

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Archive for the category “Interviews”

The Everyday Man’s Sports Blog Interview With Howie Schwab

Howie Schwab ESPN has long been the worldwide leader in sports. One guy that was behind that was Howie Schwab. Recently I was able to catch up with the sports information wizard formerly of ESPN and do an interview. Here’s what we talked about. Hope you enjoy!

Mike Patton: Everyone knows that you were big with the stats at your former employer (ESPN), so what got you into stats?

Howie Schwab: I always loved sports as a kid and I was lucky enough to work in that field for 26 years. I used to collect cards as a kid as well. I just loved it.

MP: I remember your show called Stump The Schwab. How was it to do that show?

HS: It was a ton of fun because of all the great people that were involved. And it was truly a game-changer in my career. I was 64-16 on the show and honestly I could have lost 10 more times when people had me on the ropes. Another thing that I liked about the show is it was really good for young people and it taught them some sports. I actually talked to some kids that did not know who Jackie Robinson and Knick great Dave DeBusschere were. And the show allowed them to learn a little more about sports history.

MP: What do you think has changed about sports from when you started to now?

HS: I think the internet and sports radio changed the sports world the most. The nature of sports and how they are talked about have changed because of both. I also think that DirectTV has changed some things because you can tune into games across the country live and not have to miss anything.

MP: Who were some of your favorites at ESPN?

HS: I got along great with everyone but favorites had to be Dick Vitale and Chris Berman. I worked very closely with Dick Vitale while at my former network and I also can remember the days I was in studio with Bob Ley during the beginning of the college basketball studio days. I was close to the late Beano Cook as well. Other people that come to mind are Linda Cohn and Tom Jackson.

MP: Who was someone that you looked up to growing up?

HS: Hank Aaron was someone that I looked up to. He did things the right way. I actually got to meet Hank at the Final Four last year. Me, Dick Vitale, Hank Aaron and Charles Barkley were all talking at the Conan O’Brien show while it was on location in Atlanta for the Final Four. Heard some great stories from Barkley and Aaron. Another person that comes to mind is John McEnroe. He was a competitor and he always played hard and fought for everything.

MP: You attended St. John’s University. Who was big at St. John’s while you were there?

HS: Chris Mullin was a freshman when I was a senior at St. John’s. His work ethic was unquestioned and he was a
great shooter. I actually got to go to the Final Four in 1985 when he was on the team. As far as St. John’s, that university helped me be who I am. That is why I wore the St. John’s jersey on TV.

MP: Family vs work. How did you balance that?

HS: Well, it’s a two-edged sword, but family came first. My wife suffered a stroke and she is the most important person in my life. One of the best things about not being at my former employer (ESPN) is I get to spend more time with my wife.

MP: How has life been after ESPN?

HS: I have my good days and bad days. Some days I second-guess some things. The last few months have been good and bad. I am sorry that I am not a part of the team, but guys get cut in football and sports and move on to play for other teams. And I have to move on as well.

MP: Do you have any advice for anyone trying to enter this business?

HS: Never give up on your dreams. Make sure to always show your passion for what you do. Also care for those that you work with. The more you are good to them, the more others will be good to you.

Many thanks to Howie for the doing this interview with me. Howie is definitely a class individual and I am sure we will hear more from him soon. He definitely will be missed at his former employer and I am sure they miss him as well.

Follow me @General_MP or hit me up on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

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TESM’s Interview With Former Florida Star WR Jacquez Green

In college football, there are always the guys that you remember for all the electric things they did on the football field. Former University of Florida star Jacquez Green was one of those guys that would take your breath away with the spectacular plays he made while at Florida. I recently caught up with Jacquez and here’s what we talked about!

MP: Where are you originally from?

JG: I’m originally from Fort Valley,Georgia.

MP: How did you get introduced to the game of football?

JG: I lived in an apartment complex in Georgia where all we did was play sports. Football was one of
them. I grew up watching the Falcons on TV every Sunday.

MP: Who were some receivers that you patterned your game after growing
up?

JG: As far as NFL players, I was a big fan of Jerry Rice. But, I have always been more of a college fan than pros. I loved the multi-threat type
guys like Raghib Ismail, David Palmer, and Kevin Williams.

MP: How was it playing for Steve Spurrier at the University of Florida?

JG: It was fun. He gave me a chance to stretch the field vertically. He also gave me a chance to play in the best conference in America, the SEC.

MP: Do you still keep in contact with the guys you played college football
with?

JG: Yeah, some of us are still great friends to this day. Mostly the
guys who came to the University of Florida in 1994 with me.

MP: What was the biggest difference between NFL and college football that
you noticed?

JG: The camaraderie and pageantry of college football is just
different. Nothing beats College Gameday, fight songs, all the college
cities, and the traditions of college football.

MP: What are you up to these days?

JG: I’m the Offensive Coordinator and Head track coach at Lincoln High (Tallahassee, Florida).

MP: Where all have you coached?

JG: My first stop was at Gibbs High in St. Petersburg, Florida before coming to Lincoln High School.

MP: Being a coach, what’s the main thing that you stress to your
players?

JG: The main thing I stress to my players is being a good person,
and being respectful. Talent will come and go but your character is what’s
important.

MP: What are some of the main differences that you see in high
school football in Florida as opposed to other places?

JG: Florida is just loaded with talent. From the panhandle to down south, all kids do is play football. They have seen so many people make it from their area or school. So they realize getting a college scholarship is an attainable goal.

MP: What do you think about the proposed 4 team playoff in college
football?

JG: I think a playoff system is way past due. College football is the only sport without a real playoff.
system.

MP: What are your thoughts on the supposed “super-conferences” and all the team movement in college football?

JG: All the movement won’t make much of a difference because
the SEC is basically a super-conference already.

MP: What are your thoughts on the NFL and how it is today in wake of the rulings of Roger Goodell on BoutyGate?

JG: To be honest, I just don’t like the fact that Goodell has that much power. He can’t be the judge and jury in every case.

I want to take time to thank Jacquez for doing this interview with me and also want to thank him for being a shining example for kids in Florida. Great to hear that he’s affecting kids’ lives in a positive way.

TESM’s Interview With Former NFL Punter Craig Hentrich

A position on the field that everyone overlooks is a punter. They can change the game with one swing of their leg. And no one was better over their career at punting than former Packers and Titans punter Craig Hentrich. I recently caught up with Craig and here is what we talked about!

MP: What are you up to these days Craig?

CH: I actually teach punting/kicking thru my company, Legacy Kicking. I am also getting started on building furniture as well. My third job is golf, but I haven’t played golf since October.

MP: How did you get into golf and become so good at it?

CH: I started golfing around the age of 12. I think that I’ve always had good hand/eye coordination. That and I’m always looking for a new challenge to master and that helped me as well.

MP: Who were some of your idols growing up?

CH: My parents were my idols growing up. My dad was a hard worker. He worked the same job for 35 years, was never late and never missed a day. That and when he came home, he spent time with his kids. My mom was a homemaker and they worked well together. As far as sports, I was a huge soccer player growing up. I used to go watch the Major Indoor Soccer League games when I was growing up all the time and those guys were my sports idols.

MP: How did you hone your punting craft?

CH: I honed it through hours and hours and hours of practice. I actually would catch myself doing things and make corrections.

MP: What positions did you play growing up besides punter?

CH: I actually played quarterback and safety in high school. I ran the wishbone offense. Of course, I couldn’t run that in college. When I got to college, I actually pulled double-duty as a punter and kicker.

MP: What makes a good punter?

CH: Consistency and dependability makes a punter good. And by consistency, I mean that the punter drops balls inside the 10 or unleashes a big punt and is unselfish with what he needs to do for the team.

MP: Who do you think is the best punter in the NFL?

CH: I have two that I like a lot. Shane Lechler of the Oakland and Mike Scifres of San Diego. Both always seem to hit the big punt at the right time when their team is backed up.

MP: What are your thoughts on BountyGate in New Orleans?

CH: I think it’s blown way out of proportion. The NFL is an emotional game and it’s a way to get guys mentally ready for the game, not a way to send guys out to hurt people.

MP: What made you take to punting so much?

CH: Punting is a very difficult thing to master. There’s thousands of great kickers and very few great punters. I’m always looking for a great challenge and punting is something that I can never master.

MP: Will there ever be a punter in the Hall of Fame?

CH: Yes. I read a quote from John Madden and he said “Ray Guy was one of the best defensive players I’ve ever coached.” Punters, in my opinion, are becoming more important because the game is being played more by field position. And punters are field position players.

Many thanks to Craig Hentrich for the interview. Be sure to catch up with him at Legacy Kicking(www.legacykicking.com) and also be looking for him at a golf course near you!

(Picture of Craig Hentrich via http://www.bleacherreport.com)

#SportsBlogMovement

TESM’s Interview With NFL Legend Warren Moon

When you think of legendary NFL quarterbacks, recent legends like Brett Farve and John Elway and the current greats like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning come to mind. But another great quarterback that has to be mentioned in the same air is Warren Moon. I recently caught up with the legendary quarterback and here’s what we talked about!

MP: Who did you model your game after growing up?

WM: To be honest, I didn’t really model my game after anyone. I had versatility in my game. I could throw on the run, play-action pass, run if I had to and I could stand in the pocket and take the hit as well. That versatility allowed me to last in the league for so long and also allowed me not to be pigeon-holed as a particular style of player.

MP: Who were some of your idols growing up?

WM: Most of my football idols were minorities. I can remember growing up watching Roman Gabriel and James Harris play quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams. I also watched Jimmy Jones, who was a great quarterback at USC and in the Canadian Football League, and Marlin Briscoe, who was the first black quarterback to start a game in the NFL. Another guy I watched growing up was Joe Gilliam. Jefferson St. Joe drew me in with his flash and the strong arm that he had. Roger Staubach was a guy that I kept up with as well due to his scrambling, running ability and his propensity for making big plays. But for the most part, I idolized guys that looked like me and most of them happened to be in the area of the country where I grew up, Los Angeles. I grew up as a Lakers, Dodgers and Los Angeles Rams fan.

MP: For those that don’t know, Warren does broadcasting of NFL games as well as having his own sports marketing company, Sports 1 Marketing. Warren, what do you feel has made your career after football so successful?

WM: I prepared myself beforehand educationally and financially. I actually did radio and other things while playing to prepare myself for life after football to see what I liked and what I didn’t like. I pretty much had my plan in place for life after football during my playing days.

MP: What inspired you to give back to your community through charitable organizations?

WM: So much was done for me as a young kid with organizations like Little Leagues and Cub Scouts. I just wanted to use the platform that I had to help people that were less fortunate.

MP: Have you ever thought about coaching?

WM: I honestly never have. Coaching is a full-time commitment and I have tremendous respect for them. But I have so many other things that I like doing and coaching wouldn’t allow me to do all of them.

MP: Anything that you wish you could have done differently in your career?

WM: You always go back to certain big games that you lost, but as far as my career, I would say that I could have worked even harder. There’s always more work that you can do to get better.

MP: You played in the Canadian Football League and the NFL. Besides the rules and field length, what were some of the differences you saw in the Canadian Football League and the NFL?

WM: Players were more athletic in the CFL, especially defensive linemen because of the ground they had to cover. The game in the CFL was faster. You had 20 seconds to get the next play called when the ball was spotted. There were so many ways to score in the CFL. Every kick and punt had to be returned or you were giving up points. For example, if a field goal was missed, you had to bring it out of the endzone or it was a point for the team that missed the field goal. Another big difference is we only had three downs in Canada instead of four like the NFL.

MP: When you are doing broadcasting, what is your favorite part of calling NFL games?

WM: My favorite part would be when the game is tight coming down the stretch. You really have to analyze and anticipate what the next move is. The emotion begins to carry you and the game is moving so fast. You have to make sure that you are sharp on what you’re analyzing and saying.

MP: What do you think about the current NFL compared to when you played?

WM: It’s definitely different. It’s not as physical as reflected by the rules. The passing game dominates more and the money that these players are making is astronomical. They deserve all of it and I hope they understand what players went through before them to get what they are getting now. Another huge difference is the amount of social exposure with mediums like Twitter and Facebook. And that’s something that players really have to make sure they pay attention to and they have to watch themselves even more off the field.

MP: Who is your favorite quarterback to watch in the NFL right now?

WM: There are so many good ones, but I like watching Cam Newton. Cam is able to throw the football and can run. To be that fast and big and be able to think the game is exciting to watch. As he gains experience, he will be even better. My personal relationship that I’ve had with him since he has been out of college makes it even more interesting to watch him as well.

MP: Who was your favorite player to play with throughout your entire NFL career?

WM: I would say Tony Gonzalez. He was a young guy coming in the league in Kansas City when I was at the end of my career as a backup for the Chiefs. Me and Tony developed a bond and I became a mentor to him, gave some wisdom to him and watched him grow as a player.

MP: What advice would you give to players in the NFL or aspiring NFL players?

WM: I would tell them to continue to work on your craft and be the best that you can. There’s always someone behind you trying to take your job, so don’t become complacent, even when or if you reach stardom.

Much thanks to Warren for doing this interview with me. And remember to check out his company, Sports 1 Sports Marketing( http://www.sports1marketing.com) and also be on the lookout for Warren calling an NFL game near you!
(Warren Moon picture via http://www.knue.com)

TESM’s Inteview With ESPN Radio’s Freddie Coleman

ESPN Radio has been revolutionary in bringing sports talk radio to the forefront. One of the voices that many have gotten familiar with is Freddie Coleman. Recently, I got to catch up with Freddie and here is what we talked about!

MP: So, what’s it like to work for ESPN?

FC: I have been at ESPN for eight years and I kept waiting on that one bad day until one day, I just stopped thinking about it. Because a bad day here is still better than doing something that I’m not happy at all the time. I’m living out my dreams and doing what I love and that’s truly a blessing.

MP: Being that you work at ESPN, how do you balance your home life and your job?

FC: First, I’m lucky that I have an understanding wife, but she understands that when I’m away from the job, it’s family time. I don’t bring work home with me. When I’m at work, it’s work and when I’m at home, it’s home. I believe that you cannot bring work home with you and that you cannot let work define you.

MP: How did you first get interested in radio?

FC: Well, growing up as a kid in New York, I always loved radio. I listened to everything. But it was later when I went to college and hung around people at the college radio station, that’s when I made my decision that I wanted to make radio my career.

MP: Where did you grow up in New York?

FC: I was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, New York.

MP: Did you play sports growing up?

FC: I actually played football, tennis and basketball in high school at Long Island City High School. I also played college football at Division II Mansfield University as well. I currently still stay active by playing on ESPN’s softball team.

MP: What position did you play?

FC: I played wide receiver.

MP: Growing up, what sports figure inspired you the most?

FC: Dr. J (Julius Irving of the Philadelphia 76ers) inspired me the most. He is my favorite player of all-time.

MP: What about Michael Jordan?

FC: As a Knicks fan, I’m morally opposed to Michael Jordan. He torched my team too many times.

MP: Who were some of your biggest influences in radio and broadcasting?

FC: Marv Albert has always been one of my favorites because of his sarcasm, dead pan humor and the way he calls the game. I also was heavily influenced by Keith Jackson and Chris Schenkle when they called college football games. Another radio influence was music radio host Chuck Writer. He had a major influence on me in high school.

MP: Best interview that you’ve ever had?

FC: It’s really hard to pick out just one. To be honest, not one interview stands out above any of the others because I’ve had the chance to talk to so many people like Shaq, Cedric the Entertainer, John Calipari, Bernie Mac and the list goes on.

MP: Where all have you worked in radio?

FC: I have worked for a Top 40 station in Portland, Maine, a Top 40 station in Poughkeepsie, I’ve worked for a Soul Music station in New York City and I’ve also been a program director in Poughkeepsie, New York and worked in TV in the Hudson Valley, which is one to two hours north of New York City.

MP: Have you ever had an interest in doing more television?

FC: Not really. To me, it’s not as much fun as radio. Radio is not as political and television is something that is really not on my radar to be honest.

MP: What advice would you have for young people aspiring to getting into radio?

FC: I would say that you have to make sure to be prepared. You don’t have to know everything, but make sure you do your homework. Also, be 100% real when you’re there. The more truthful you are, the most you build your credibility.

MP: What is your ultimate goal in broadcasting?

FC: I’ve never had an ultimate goal. I always just want to make sure that I love what I do and do what I love.

MP: What are some charitable things that you are involved in?

FC: I get involved with Coaches vs Cancer in New York City. Coaches vs Cancer is a program where coaches help raise awareness for prostate cancer. I’m always on board for these events.

Freddie not only is a radio host, but someone with great experience that has put in time to make it to the level he’s at now. Many thanks to Freddie for the interview.

Interview With Grayson “The Professor” Boucher

When you see Grayson Boucher, who do you see? Some may see your average, ordinary white guy. But most who know of him know him as a streetball legend and one of the most entertaining players to ever touch a basketball. Here’s my interview with streetball legend The Professor.

patton26: How did you get the nickname “The Professor”?

Professor: I actually got the nickname from Duke Tango, who was the announcer for our And 1 games and is now the announcer for Ball Up. He said I was schooling people on the court, hence the nickname “The Professor”.

patton26: For the fans that don’t know, how did you first get selected to be a part of the And 1/streetball family?

Professor: I was on the show that And 1 had during the summer of 2003 that was on ESPN when they were looking for the next playground legend. Basically, the show was like a Survivor type show where the winner won an And 1 contract. I survived each stop and made it all the way until the end, where I won the contract with And 1. And the rest is history.

patton26: When did you actually start playing basketball?

Professor: I actually started playing at 3 years old. My dad got me into the game.

patton26: Who were the athletes you looked up to growing up?

Professor: I looked up to players like Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Jason “White Chocolate” Williams and the original Blazers like Clyde Drexler, Jerome Kersey, Terry Porter and Kevin Duckworth. But I didn’t look up to one athlete in general.

patton26: What are you currently up to these days?

Professor: I just started the Ball Up Streetball Tour. Ball Up is the new face of streetball and can be seen on Fox Sports. A bunch of us from And 1 left and joined Ball Up. We have 10 games stateside and on June 15th we start the world tour. I also have a ball-handling camp called The Professor’s Ball-Handling Academy. I’ve been to countries like Japan, Africa and South America as well as a few places in the United States. I’m working on doing some more camps in the United States.

patton26: What things are you doing to be a role model and give back to the community?

Professor: I do free clinics on ball-handling. I try to use the game to give back to the community by also visiting local recreation centers and giving motivational speeches to kids about staying in school and other issues kids may be confronted with growing up. I’ve been doing that since my And 1 days first started.

patton26: Do you keep up with the NBA?

Professor: Not that much, but I do watch the highlights on Sports Center.
patton26: Who’s your favorite team in the NBA?

Professor: The Blazers. I grew up in Oregon, so I grew up watching them.

patton26: Any predictions on who will win the Eastern and Western Conference and who will be the champion this year in the NBA?

Professor: I don’t know a whole bunch about what’s going on in the teams like the Lakers, Spurs, Heat, Celtics are definitely in the mix. Its tough to say who the champion is going to be.

patton26: Who’s your favorite player to watch at any level of basketball?

Professor: The crazy thing about me is that I actually don’t watch basketball that much, but my favorite player to watch is Taurian “Air Up There” Fontenette. He is the best dunker that I’ve ever seen. Period.

patton26: What are some of the differences you see in playing streetball as opposed to so-called “traditional basketball”?

Professor: The differences I see are that streetball is more improvised, less-structured and is more fast-paced. Another difference is that in streetball, there are really only two positions: entertainer or dunker and we use our skills to wow the crowd and that’s how we entertain. In the NBA, the focus is more on winning games and winning championships. Both games have a different focus but we have a common goal: entertainment.

patton26: If could give any advice to anyone coming up in today’s world, what would you tell them?

Professor: I would tell them to stay focused on what’s important in life.

After doing this interview, I learned that The Professor is more than just a streetball legend. He’s a man on a mission to make his mark on the world off the court as well as on the court.

Interview With Tony Barnhart

There’s some things in the South that are staples: college football, hot summers and Tony Barnhart. Barnhart has been covering collegiate sports for a very long time in the South and has reached iconic status in the SEC. Here’s what we talked about when I caught up with him.

patton26: How did you first get involved in covering collegiate sports?

Tony Barnhart: I actually thought I was going to be a football coach. I decided against that after a while. What first got me hooked was in February of 1973 when I was at Georgia Southern. I got to go to a college basketball game and sit on the sideline and write about the game. It excited me the next day to see my name in the paper next to my story. I stayed at Georgia Southern one more year and then I decided to transfer to Georgia and go to journalism school because I knew then what I wanted to do, cover collegiate sports.

patton26: Were you at any point an athlete?

Barnhart: I actually played football in high school. I wasn’t a great player, but I enjoyed the game and I had great respect for my coaches.

patton26: For those that don’t know, what sports do you cover?

Barnhart: For most of my career I covered college football and basketball. I covered college football and basketball for 24 years for the Atlanta Journal Constitution before starting my own freelance business. Now, 90% of what I cover is college football.

patton26: Who was your role mode or role models growing up?

Barnhart: My high school head coach , Coach Veazey, was one of my role models. Most of my high school coaches were my role models. I still stay in touch with some of them to this day. They were very good men.

patton26: Any advice to any younger broadcaster/writers trying to get into the business?

Barnhart: Learn how to do everything. Learn how to write, do video, talk on the radio, etc. In today’s world, you have to know how to do it all.

patton26: How has family played a part in your career?

Barnhart: My family has been very supportive. My mother was hard on me growing up. She stayed on me about my academics but she also taught me an appreciation for writing. My dad taught me the love of sports.

patton26: What is your most memorable moment in broadcasting?

Barnhart: I have had a lot of them, but my most memorable moment was in 1984. Jesse Outler and Furman Bisher were two of my writing heroes. They both worked for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. When I got hired in 1984 to write for the Atlanta Jounal Constitution, I had to attend the Georgia vs. Clemson game to write on it for the paper. When I got to the game, I found that my seat placed me right in between my sports writing heroes. Bisher was on my left and Outler was on my right. At that moment, I felt like I had arrived in journalism.

patton26: Who was the most memorable athlete that you covered?

Barnhart: Before I worked for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, I was working in North Carolina. I actually covered Michael Jordan and I was at the game in 1982 when Michael Jordan, a freshman at North Carolina at that time, hit the game-winning shot to win the National Championship for North Carolina over Georgetown.

patton26: How do you handle issues with players or coaches when they’ve had issues about what you’ve wrote about them?

Barnhart: Its the nature of the job. Not everyone is going to agree with you. But when you write, you have to be accurate and fair. You can’t be sloppy. I’ve had disagreements over the years with some coaches. They didn’t like what I said and we butted heads, but at the end of the day, we smoothed it out and were fine.

Tony Barnhart is truly a class act. He continues to provide great writing and great commentary for all of us sports fans. If you haven’t heard him or read his work, you definitely are missing out.

Interview With Charles Davis

Charles Davis is had a successful career in college football. He was a great player at the University of Tennessee and he has continued his success in his broadcasting career including working for the Big Ten Network and also various analyst appearances on NFL football broadcasts. Here’s what we discussed when I caught up with him.

patton26: What was it like playing at UT when you were there?

Charles Davis: It was terrific once I got through my redshirt year and actually got on the field. I had dreamed of playing at UT, and doing so fulfilled that dream in a big way. Ups and downs? Definitely, but overall, I wouldn’t change much.

patton26: What was your most memorable moment(s) while attending the University of Tennessee?
Davis: Graduating, on time, from Tennessee in four years. Getting my graduate degree in History, playing for the Vols and most importantly meeting my wife.

patton26: How was the transition from football player to broadcasting
booth/broadcasting studio?

Davis: It took awhile. I finished playing in 1986, and did not get into broadcasting until 1997, so the transition was a gradual one, not an abrupt one at all. You always miss playing, but broadcasting keeps me close to the game, and gets the adrenaline pumping in a different way.

patton26: What did you do in between your last year of playing in 1986 and 1997?

Davis: I actually worked all the way until 2000 before I just did broadcasting as my main occupation. I Interned with the SEC Commissioner’s Office in 1988, coached defensive backs for the University of the Pacific in 1989, was the director of the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs from 1990 to 1994, was the assistant athletic director at Stanford University from 1994 to 1996, helped open Disney’s Wide World of Sports and was there from 1996 and 1997 and I also was the tournament Director for the Disney Golf Classic, a PGA TOUR event, from 1998-2000. My last year as tournament director Tiger Woods won the tournament.

patton26: Who were some of your role models growing up?

Davis: My parents, teachers, coaches. I was a huge fan of former UT QB Condredge Holloway and former LA Laker PG Earvin “Magic” Johnson as a kid.

patton26: What sport do you like to cover most? College football or professional football?

Davis: I like them both, they each have their charms. The passion/pageantry of the college game is tremendous, while the Pro game possesses the best players in the game, and each game can truly be contested on a nearly equal basis.

patton26: What do you feel your impact is on the African-American community?

Davis: I’m not sure that I have an “Impact.” But, perhaps people can see me working, and feel pride, and those who might want to break into the business have another person to look at, and say, “I can do it, too.” Many have come before me to help pave the way…I hope that in a small way, I’m doing the same.

patton26: What advice would you give any up-and-comers trying to break into the broadcasting/professional sports coverage world?

Davis: Be knowledgeable, thorough, honest, and fair. You have to know your sport, subjects, nuances, charms, and warts of what you are covering. And, don’t forget to work at it everyday.

Many thanks to Charles Davis. Davis may be a well-known person in the broadcasting world, but he is also a down-to-earth individual who isn’t too big to reach out to the everyday people of society.

Interview With Green Bay C Scott Wells- 2/16/11

The feeling never goes away. The feeling of being a champion. I recently caught up with Scott Wells, starting center for the NFL champion Green Bay Packers for an interview. Here’s what he had to say.

patton26: So, how does it feel to be an NFL champion?

Scott Wells: Its a huge dream come true. In the NFL, its the ultimate goal. When you see guys like Dan Marino and Jim Kelly that played so long and never won a Super Bowl, it makes the Super Bowl win all that more special.

patton26: What do you feel has been your biggest strength that has kept you in the NFL?

Wells: I think my work ethic is my biggest strength. I’m very detailed in my work. Guys on the team tend to make fun of me because of how detailed I am.

patton26: So, how is football in Green Bay? Treatment of players by fans?

Wells: Green Bay is very similar to a college town. Everyone there knows who we are. Everyone there is a Packers fan. Green Bay is also a great place for family.

patton26: How do you balance family life with professional football?

Wells: When I’m at work, I’m at work. Once work is over and I’m leaving to go home, I’m a husband and a dad. You have to be able to leave work at work to be able to take care of your responsibilities at home.

patton26: Who is your favorite teammate?

Wells: My closest friend on the team is offensive tackle Chad Clifton. We both live in the same area in the off-season, we both attended the University of Tennessee, we both have spent our whole career in Green Bay and our kids are around the same age.

patton26: How has it been to snap the football to Brett Farve and Aaron Rodgers in your career?

Wells: Its been special. To grow up watching Brett play and then to play with him is special. At the same time, I think Aaron is on his way to being a great player. To have watch and be a part of that has been great.

patton26: For all that are not aware, when was the first time that you played center?

Wells: The first time I played center was my first year of college. I red-shirted my first year at Tennessee and that spring they decided to put me at center. It took some time to adjust, but I ended up starting my red-shirt freshman year at center.

patton26: Do you think your background in wrestling helps you in football?

Wells: Definitely. Wrestling is all about 1-on-1 battles in tight spaces and with the emergence of 3-4 defenses, the lessons in leverage and other things I learned have carried over to blocking nose tackles.

patton26: How has your faith played a part in your career?

Wells: Faith has played a huge part in my career. It keeps everything in perspective and has helped me through the highs and lows of professional football. I don’t play this game for the accolades, I play this game to the best of my ability because that’s what God expects of me.

patton26: Would you say that the center is the smartest player on the field?

Wells: Well, I’m a little biased there. I would say the center and the QB are the smartest people on the field. On our team, I can say that center and the quarterback are the smartest people on the field football-wise.

After doing this interview, I can say I truly understand more about the man that is Scott Wells. Through interviewing him, I’ve learned that faith and family are very important to him and they should be to everyone. He is a true example of how to balance work and family. Great guy and great interview.

Interview With Jayson Swain

Who remembers the heralded group of receivers that all decided to attend the University of Tennessee? Bret Smith, Robert Meachem and Jayson Swain all decided to attend Tennessee. These guys all had good careers at Tennessee and were there during many special moments. Recently I caught up with one member of this trio, Jayson Swain. Here’s what we talked about.

patton26: What are you up to these days?

Jayson Swain: I work for ESPN 1180 in Knoxville. I have my own show (The Swain Event) and I also work with a group called National Underclassmen. What we do is we do about 80 combines a year and we evaluate the talent of each kid and also impart wisdom to them.

patton26: So, I’m guessing the adjustment to life after football has been pretty easy?

Swain: Actually it wasn’t all that easy. You always hear about having a Plan B in case you don’t make it to the NFL. But that really doesn’t hit you until you don’t make it. Of course you’re disappointed when you don’t make it, but the lessons of football prepare you for life after football.

patton26: What would you say was your most memorable moment while playing for Tennessee?

Swain: The most memorable moment I had was when we played the University of California the season opener my senior year. The season before we had went 5-6. We had worked hard all off-season. Leaders were born that off-season and we became a more close-knit team. We felt like we were the only people that believed we could go out and play great football. That game showed all the hard work we put in that off-season.

patton26: Are you interested in coaching?

Swain: I was interested at first, but the time commitment is the biggest barrier for me. I mean, the money is good but I value my family time more.

patton26: Speaking of coaches, what are your impressions of current UT football coach Derek Dooley?

Swain: Initially I didn’t know much about him. I was still trying to understand how you get rid of a coach that won 70% of his games. But, now that I’ve actually had a chance to see his work, I’m happy with Coach Dooley. He is a coach that has standards.

patton26: What do you think about UT football now?

Swain: They did better than some of me and the alumni had initially thought they would. I’m excited for the future of the program, but there’s no way I can be satisfied with the program right now with Auburn, Florida and Alabama winning National Championships. The young guys need to mature and do what they are supposed to do, the coaching staff needs to bring in more players of SEC level talent to compete and continue to move in the right direction.

patton26: Are you still involved with the program?

Swain: Not as much with work and spending time with my daughter. I don’t really go on campus that much. The guys still know who I am, but I’m not real active due to my obligations at work and with my family.

What I gathered from this interview is that Swain is a very family-oriented person who still has a passion for sports. Many thanks go out to him for doing the interview with me. And for all those in Knoxville, check out The Swain Event on ESPN 1180.

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